“Climate emergency” was the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of 2019, a reflection of the year’s pulse as our environmental impact remained under the spotlight. We need to continue to demand the much-needed, transformative change from our world leaders and within industries while staying inspired to make our own impact, which collectively could be a big difference. There is a high carbon price tag attached to our clothes but, by extending their use by nine months we can reduce their carbon and water footprint by up to 30%.
So, here are our 5 New Year’s resolutions to help you stay in love with your clothes for longer.
1. rethink laundry day
Firstly, question how often your clothing really needs to be washed. The more frequently we wash them the sooner the fabrics will wear out. Spot cleaning stains, airing clothes out before putting them back in the wardrobe or lightly spraying with refreshing mist sprays like PureEffect, will give a little extra time between laundry days.
When it is time to wash your clothes, keeping the temperature low at 30 degrees will help them to retain their colour for longer. Coupling this with a shorter 30 minutes cycle will offer a big saving on energy, helping to reduce your carbon footprint.
Ideally, we should be hand-washing more delicate pieces but, as it’s not the easiest habit to stick to, putting them in a laundry bag when machine washing them on a cool setting can help prevent tearing.
It’s estimated 35% of microplastics finding their way into the ocean are from synthetic fabrics. These fibres can have a detrimental impact on marine life and have even been found in the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench. A lot of clothing is made from these pervasive textiles and while there are myriad ways their microplastics make the journey, we can help reduce one. Our clothing sheds these microfibers during the wash so by using a Guppyfriend Wash Bag or a Coraball will help prevent them from getting into the water system.
2. the dos and don’ts of drying
If it’s possible, avoid using a tumble dryer as over time it can weaken the fabrics or cause clothing to shrink. Instead, opting for line drying extends the life of your garments and uses only the energy exerted when hanging them up.
When it comes to knitted fabrics such as jersey, reshaping and drying flat will prevent any wrinkles or twisting in the fabric, keeping them in good shape for longer.
There are a few downsides to ironing, with the biggest being that it’s generally not very high on anyone’s "Want To Do" list, leaving us with unworn clothes in our wardrobe. Whereas, steaming clothing is not only much quicker than ironing it’s also much gentler on the fabrics, especially on more delicate garments.
3. check the contents of your closet
The hangers we have in our wardrobe matter. While it might be enticing to stick to space-saving wire hangers these can stretch and damage clothes over time. Switching to wooden or padded hangers that are no wider than the shoulder width of a garment will reduce this unnecessary wear.
Hanging knitted clothing such as sweaters or t-shirts in our wardrobes can cause our favourite items to lose their shape, grow in length and distort the shoulders. Storing these more delicate fabrics folded in a drawer helps keep them looking great.
Moths can wreak havoc on your clothing so, to avoid your favourite pieces starting to resemble Swiss cheese, keep cedarwood in your wardrobe to deter them.
4. take up the art of mending
A lot of us may have never learned to sew but mending buttons or small holes on clothing doesn’t have to be daunting. A limited sewing kit of the essentials and five minutes of videos on YouTube and you can get your perfect white shirt back.
Knocking on the door of your local tailor can be like gaining a new wardrobe. Finally getting any broken zips repaired, altering clothes that don’t fit or taking up a pair of trousers can give some loved garments a second lease of life.
Even the highest quality of wool can pill over time, gently using a clothes shaver to remove the little bobbles can make a sweater look as good as new.
5. get fabric savvy
Learning about fabrics, how they wear and how to care for them will really help you question what next to bring home. Finding clothes that feel amazing to wear, are made of quality materials and keep you reaching into the wardrobe for them is the most sustainable way to shop. To gain a better insight check out our Fabrics page.
Take a care labels crash course with the Love Your Clothes guide to these symbols. Getting to know what the instructions say can help prevent accidental damage by washing a garment incorrectly and can also help you avoid picking up clothes that are difficult to look after.
Written by Lynne Grey